Staff

Megan Laudenschlager

Megan Laudenschlager

Executive Director

Megan Laudenschlager is the Founder and Executive Director of Strengthen ND. Ms. Laudenschlager is a 2014 Bush Foundation Fellow, 2020 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Social Impact Strategy, and an alumnus of the Harvard-Kennedy School of Government’s Leadership in the 21st Century Program and the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana State University. Ms. Laudenschlager currently holds several state-based and national positions related to rural placemaking and development, including positions on the North Dakota Council on the Arts Board of Directors, North Dakota Economic Development Foundation Board of Directors, North Dakota Rural Development Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts’ Steering Committee, which provides guidance to the Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design (CIRD).

Cher Hersrud

Cher Hersrud

Resource & Research VISTA

Cher Hersrud has worked with rural communities and nonprofit organizations for more than 30 years. Funded by the Bremer Trust, she traveled across North Dakota for 10 years to provide capacity building services. Additionally, she worked for several nonprofit organizations, including Plains Art Museum, NDSU Development Foundation, and the FM Area Foundation. In her “retirement,” she is working to support Strengthen ND as an AmeriCorps VISTA.

Stacey LaCompte

Stacey LaCompte

Indigenous Communications & Tribal Advocate

Stacey LaCompte has worked across the Dakotas in economic and community development for more than two decades. Stacey’s previous experience includes supporting the establishment of Wakpasica in Rapid City, SD and directing the North Dakota Indian Business Alliance in Bismarck, ND. Through Stacey’s work as the Indigenous Communications & Tribal Advocate at Strengthen ND, she will continue her work to build community across North Dakota.

Nancy Heskin-Rakness

Director of Nonprofit Education

Nancy Heskin-Rakness brings more than 25 years of experience as a leader within the nonprofit sector, including experience in fundraising, grant administration, human resources, fiscal management, and community engagement and outreach.  Nancy leads the development of tools and curricula for Strengthen ND’s Nonprofit Certificate Program. 

Barbara Carley

Rural Network Coordinator

Barbara Carley, originally from a small town in Minnesota, has lived in Fargo, ND for much of her adult life. Her career began with Super Valu Inc. and continued for 27 years in various capacities: Accounts Payable/Payroll Clerk, Computer Operator, and Supervisor of Accounts Payable/Payroll Department. After retirement from Super Valu, she worked for North Dakota Disaster Emergency Services (2008 – 2019) traveling with her husband to many counties in North Dakota to assess damages to public buildings, roads, and bridges caused by flooding, ice storms, high winds, etc. and assisted county officials with paperwork to receive funding for damages.
 
In her role with Strengthen ND, Barb will support the development of a Rural Community Network Map; assist in Storytelling and Statewide Community Building; and lead our Impact Evaluation.
 
Barb currently lives in Fargo, with her husband Jim, is the mother of one daughter and grandmother to twin grandsons. She enjoys reading, golfing winter months in Arizona, and spending time with friends and family.